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NEET-PG Test Change Anxiety
Worried about NEXT potentially replacing NEET-PG? When will it happen and will you be affected? While no specific date has yet been announced, Kaplan’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Cimino, has some expert advice learned from years of experience of test changes.
There are many reasons NOT to change a high-stakes test such as NEET-PG. If something is in place - even if it is imperfect - making a change has the potential to disrupt careers and lives. Even when many people agree that change is the right thing, there are many more who argue to "wait just one more year". The test administrator has an uphill battle to make change happen, both because of the resistance from many stakeholders, but also because such change is so infrequent that it can be difficult to approach it efficiently. The test takers are also faced with a challenge, as a large body of knowledge about how best to approach the test will suddenly become irrelevant.
Because everything is potentially new or undecided, replacement information (even for the test administrator) may be scant or late in being available. All of this produces a great deal of anxiety, especially in the test aspirants.
Some things, though, should not be a surprise and are therefore reason for calm and thoughtfulness to remain dominant. Although it is infrequent for any one test, there are many examples of past and current test change we can learn from. For example, in the United States, the National Board of Medical Examiners has been around for over 100 years and the overall shape of the United States Licensure Examination (USMLE) they produce has remained the same. But there have been some major changes to components of the exam, as well as some proposals that have not been carried out.
Here are some key things test takers can learn from historical test changes:
- Changing the test or establishing a new test always takes longer than originally planned: Initial deadlines get moved back frequently. Worrying about something more than 1 year away is likely not useful because it could easily become 2 years away. For example, in the United Kingdom, the new proposed UK Medical Licensing exam was approved in 2015, but is currently set to go live in 2022. In Canada, a future vision of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination was outlined in 2011, approved in 2014, and implemented for the first time at the end of 2018. So, it's not surprising that it will likely take at least three years for the National Exit Test to replace the NEET-PG.
- That said, the basic knowledge required by test takers remains the same, so studying for the old test remains a good start for any new test. Adapting the knowledge learned to how it will be organized on the test is the most critical step.
- When tests change, there tends to be a shift away from fact type questions and toward problem solving or practice oriented questions. This kind of shift favors test takers who understand the underlying knowledge over those who memorize.
These are three excellent reasons not to panic. At this stage, NEET-PG aspirants should continue to study for the test as normal. For realistic practice, try, Kaplan’s NEET-PG Question Bank, which is free for a limited time.